Can strapping a weighted pack to your back and heading off for a walk really improve your running? Let’s look at how to use rucking alongside your first love of running to become a stronger, faster athlete.
Advice on rucking for runners
You love running, so you're always looking for new ways to improve your performance and stay injury-free. Rucking, the practice of walking or hiking with a weighted pack, has lots of potential benefits for runners. Here’s how it could improve your running legs – and our suggestions for adding rucking to your running routine.
How can rucking help you be a better runner
Rucking involves walking or hiking with a weighted backpack. The weight adds resistance, so your body exerts more effort than walking and engages different muscle groups to running. While rucking has its roots in military training, it’s a great low-impact training option for anyone who wants to improve strength and endurance.
5 ways rucking can make you a better runner
Muscular strength and endurance: rucking uses muscles in your legs, hips, and core in a different way to running and with much less impact. This leads to increased strength and endurance, which will translate to good running form and fewer injuries.
Active recovery: rucking provides a low-impact cardio workout that can help you recover from running sessions. The slower pace and reduced impact of rucking can flush out DOMS and keep you active without extra stress.
Stronger lower body: rucking encourages muscle gain, strength, and joint health particularly in the big lower body muscle groups of the legs, glutes, and hips. This is all good news for your running speed and endurance.
Mental resilience: rucking can be as easy or as challenging as you make it, but every ruck is a great way to push yourself further against the uncertain terrain of nature. This mental resilience can improve your mental strength for runs and races of all distances.
Training variation: add rucking to your training routine to introduce variety without veering away from your core goals. This will help prevent boredom and burnout whilst you address muscle imbalances and work on your cardio.
How to use rucking to support your running
Start slowly: start with a relatively light load (around 10% of bodyweight) – you can this if you want as your body adapts.
Get the fit right: ruckpacks and plate carriers should have fully adjustable straps and padding in key areas. Make sure the pack fits snugly and comfortably to minimise movement.
Varied terrain: get the most out of rucking with different terrains, such as trails, hills, and even sand, to switch up the training stimulus.
Rucking plus running: you can also combine rucking with running in a fartlek or intervals style workout.
Frequency and duration: aim to ruck 1-3 times per week, depending on your fitness level and goals – rucking can replace recovery runs or mid-distance runs as a lower impact option.
How does rucking work for runners
Rucking is a great cross-training option that might just help you stay running for decades. The potential benefits - improved muscular endurance, lower body strength, better posture, stronger core, active recovery, mental resilience, and training variation - making rucking a tempting addition.
As you explore the potential of rucking, pay attention to how your body responds and monitor improvements in your running performance. With good kit, proper technique, and gradual progression, you might uncover a new dimension to your running experience!
Best rucking gear for runners
Need a top quality rucking backpack or weighted plate carrier that’s been designed for rucking? Check the Force Fitness store for rucking gear inspired by the world’s elite forces and adventures.